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In re Chelsea M.

Court of Appeals of Nebraska

December 17, 2013

In re Interest of Chelsea M., a child under 18 years of age.
v.
Theresa R., appellant. State of Nebraska, appellee,

NOT DESIGNATED FOR PERMANENT PUBLICATION

Appeal from the County Court for Hall County: Arthur S. Wetzel, Judge.

Lawrence G. Whelan and Dennis G. Whelan, of Whelan Law Office, for appellant.

Sarah A. Hinrichs, Deputy Hall County Attorney, for appellee.

Stacie A. Goding, of Myers & Daugherty, P.C., guardian ad litem.

Irwin, Pirtle, and Bishop, Judges.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND JUDGMENT ON APPEAL

Irwin, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Theresa R. appeals from an order of the county court for Hall County, Nebraska, sitting as a juvenile court, which adjudicated one of her children, Chelsea M., to be a juvenile as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. § 43-247(3)(a) (Reissue 2008). On appeal, Theresa asserts that there was insufficient evidence to warrant the adjudication of Chelsea pursuant to § 43-247(3)(a). Upon our de novo review of the record, we find sufficient evidence to support the county court's finding that it had jurisdiction over Chelsea, and we affirm the order to adjudicate her under § 43-247(3)(a).

II. BACKGROUND

On November 2, 2011, Chelsea, who was 16 years old, told her mother, Theresa, and her stepfather, Stacey R., that she was pregnant. Theresa and Stacey were very upset with Chelsea and proceeded to engage in an extremely heated and physical argument with Chelsea and Chelsea's boyfriend, Alex H. After this argument, Chelsea had various bruises on her chest and other parts of her body. In addition, Chelsea had a black eye.

On November 7, 2011, Chelsea told her school counselor, and later told law enforcement personnel, that her injuries were a result of Stacey's physically assaulting her after he learned of her pregnancy. Chelsea reported that on the night of November 2, Stacey pushed her into a chair; slapped her in the face multiple times; called her stupid; pushed a heavy, "pottery" vase off of a table and toward her face; and "slammed" her up against a wall. Chelsea reported that Theresa was present during these incidents and did not intervene to protect her.

As a result of Chelsea's reports of abuse, the State filed a petition in county court seeking to adjudicate Chelsea as a child within the meaning of § 43-247(3)(a). The original petition filed by the State is not included in our record; however, an amended petition filed on September 14, 2012, is included in the record. This amended petition is the operative pleading in this juvenile court case.

In the September 2012 amended petition, the State alleged that Chelsea lacked proper parental care by reason of the faults or habits of her parent or that she was in a situation or engaged in an occupation dangerous to life or limb or injurious to her health or morals because "[o]n or about November 2, 2011, Stacey[, ] stepfather of Chelsea[, ] was verbally abusive to the child and assaulted her causing injuries. Stacey . . . further threatened ...


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